Paterno Family: “A Rush to Injustice”

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STATE COLLEGE — The family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has released the findings of a report which refutes the findings of the Freeh Report

Penn State’s Board of Trustees commissioned former FBI Director Louis Freeh to investigate the university’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The report called into question Paterno’s role in an alleged cover up of abuse on the campus of Penn State University.

“The Freeh report is a profound failure,” said Wick Sollers, attorney for the Paterno family. “It isn’t a little wrong on the minor issues. It is totally wrong on the most critical issues. That the Board and the NCAA relied on this report, without appropriate review or analysis, is a miscarriage of justice.”

Among those hired by the Paterno family to compile the report is former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh. The group spent six months looking into the Freeh Report.

The following are findings included in the Paterno Report:

  • The allegation is false that Joe Paterno participated in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s actions because of a fear of bad publicity or for any other reason.
  • There is no evidence to support the allegation that the football culture at Penn State was somehow to blame for Sandusky’s crimes. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh says that including such a claim, with no factual basis to support it, undermines the credibility of the entire report.
  • Freeh’s failure to conduct interviews with most of the key witnesses is a glaring deficiency. In the 1998 incident, for example, Freeh’s investigators failed to interview at least 14 of the most important witnesses, including Curley, Schultz, the District Attorney’s office, the Department of Public Welfare and the University’s police department or its outside legal counsel. This pattern was repeated in the 2001 review. Having never talked with these individuals, the Freeh report still claimed to know what they did and why they did it.
  • Freeh investigators did not have subpoena power, and no one testified under oath. Worse, witnesses were allowed to speak anonymously, something that would never
  • The conspiracy claim made by the Freeh report based on a string of three emails falls apart under scrutiny. Because of a technology switch in 2004, most of the Penn State emails for the time in question are not accessible. Moreover, there are no emails authored by Joe Paterno and none that he received. In fact, the emails referenced by the Freeh report show that Joe Paterno knew few details about Sandusky, that he acted in good faith and that he did what he thought was right based on what he knew at the time.
  • The validity and thoroughness of the Freeh report was oversold to the public, leading to the report being accepted in full and without review by The Board of Trustees and the NCAA.
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